Teaching moment: Radiologist-led public education boosts screening knowledge

Patient education is an important part of care, but only so much information can be conveyed during a brief office visit, and even then it’s a small audience. New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center in New York City, however, reports having great success with public educational sessions covering cancer screening.

Andrew Rosenkrantz, MD, MPA, of the department of radiology at NYU Langone, and colleagues detailed their experiences and audience reactions in an article published online May 7 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Noting that group sessions offer more time for a comprehensive overview of material than a routine office visit, NYU Langone began offering one-hour education sessions to inform public audiences on the subjects of breast, prostate and lung cancer screening. The focus was on the key radiologic screening tests.

A survey of 119 attendees found the vast majority felt positively about the sessions. Between 85 and 95 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the sessions increased their understanding of the topic, that they gain information not obtained from clinic visits and that they felt more involved in their own care.

“It is noteworthy that even with [a high] prelecture level of awareness, nearly 90 percent of respondents reported that unique knowledge was gained with the radiologist-led education sessions, with additional benefits including an enhanced sense of involvement in their own health care and readiness to use screening tests appropriately,” wrote the authors.

Respondents also noted that seeing actual radiology images particularly helped their understanding.

Rosenkrantz and colleagues wrote that with anxiety being a significant predictor of nonadherence to screening tests such as mammography, this type of educational session could be used to help improve patient care.

“Our intent in providing this account is to offer a model that other radiology practices may consider to pursue a similar endeavor, in that our work may provide an encouraging example of the value added by radiologist-led direct public education.”